tv CNN Special Report CNN March 30, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
all three republican presidential candidates at our town hall backing away from their signed pledge to support whoever wins the gop nomination. donald trump first advocating punishment for women who get abortions if abortions are banned. then saying the exact opposite all within hours. all without ever admitting he changed his position. on top of that, new polling out of wisconsin suggesting the winner there may not be donald trump. potentially blocking his path to sowing up the nomination before the convention, paving the way toward a floor battle unlike any seen. n that same polling spells hope for bernie sanders and a headache for hillary clinton. a ton of stuff tonight, plus a closer look at the legal troubles surrounding trump campaign manager corey lewandowski. we begin with the abortion 180 and sunlen serfaty. walk us through what happened. >> reporter: this all stems from some very hard line positions that donald trump said today during a town hall, an interview during a town hall today over abortion.
and trump was asked during that town hall, point blank, responding to a question, whether he would punish a woman for having an abortion if it was made illegal in the united states. here's first that exchange which set off this controversy. >> should the woman be punished for having an abortion? >> look -- >> this is not something you can dodge. if you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under the law. should abortion be punished? >> well, people in certain parts of the republican party and conservative republicans would say yes, they should be punished. >> how about you? >> i would say that it's a very serious problem and it's a problem we have to decide on. it's very -- >> you are for banning it? >> are you going to say put them in jail? the answer is that there has to be some form of punishment. >> for the woman? >> yeah there has to be some form. >> ten years? >> that's i don't know. >> you take positions on everything else. >> i do take positions on everything else. it's a very complicated position.
>> now very quickly there was quickly a firestorm and condemnation from many of trump's rivals really blasting his position on this. trump's campaign came out with a statement to clarify his position and then force was forced into walking back the statement altogether, coming out with a lengthy statement saying, quote, if congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal, and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permits to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held illegally responsible, not the woman. the woman is a victim in this case, as is the life in the womb. my position has not changed. like ronald reagan, i am pro-life with exceptions. and this whole life span of this controversy was very quick from the time the original statement was made by donald trump to the
time of this clarification, walking back of his statement was only about three hours which gives you an indication how quickly it set off a real firestorm. >> what's was senator cruz's response? >> this was interesting. the cruz campaign quickly came out and condemned this statement. cruz himself came out with a statement this evening saying in part, quote, trump hasn't seriously thought through these issues and will say anything to get attention. and it was interesting that the cruz campaign very quickly trying to make this a larger critique about donald trump's conservative credentials. really casting as a pattern, calling this just another missed step, another fumble made by donald trump revealing, they said, that he doesn't have any core, any anchor in conservative principles. >> sunlen serfaty, thanks. we're expecting a phone call from hillary clinton responding to the trump remarks today. now the new poll signaling trouble for trump. so much so, it could foreshadow
a scenario in which no candidate gets the required 1,237 delegates they need to roll into cleveland with the nomination sown up. wisconsin's primary could be key. let's take a look at the poll in wisconsin. >> it shows wisconsin could be trouble for donald trump. ten-point ted cruz lead. this is a market university law school poll. cruz at 40%, trump at 30%, kasich at 21%. one of the reasons why is the gender gap. among men n women, ted cruz roughly evening. donald trump gets the support of 35% of republican men in wisconsin who plan to vote saying they support trump. only 21% of republican women who plan to vote in the primary. the gender gap is part of trump falling behind in wisconsin. >> trade is obviously a big issue. how does that issue play some. >> it is. these numbers tell you donald trump may be better to get back to economics and away from
conversations like abortions and other candidates' wives. republicans traditionally the party of free trade. among republican primary voters, only 32% say free trade deals are good. 48% say free trade is bad for the united states. traditional republicans, those who say free trade is good tend to support ted cruz. nearly half for senator cruz. donald trump has a big lead among republicans who say these trade deals are a bad deal for the united states. 41%. that's been something mr. trump has talked about since the beginning of this campaign. in wisconsin, even though he's lose, it's clear his views on trade could help him. >> what about room for trump to recover before the primary? >> there is time to recover. mr. trump has proven he can move the numbers. nearly one-quarter of republicans say they're uncomfortable. they have discomfort with donald trump. only 14% say that about ted cruz.
5% about governor kasich. almost a quarter of the electorate says they're uncomfortable about you is there room for donald trump to recover? sure. but there's a speed bump in the way. on the panel as well is gloria borger, nia-malika henderson, jeffrey lord, amanda carpenter and ana navarro. rich gannon is also here. a strategist on the republican side. first of all, the poll numbers in wisconsin, not good news for donald trump. >> no, not good news for donald trump. and surprisingly, good news for ted cruz. wisconsin is not a state that's a natural terrain for ted cruz. not a large evangelical population. and so for cruz, the cruz campaign is thrilled at these numbers. the problem for trump are these gender gap numbers. overall in this country, he has about a 73% unfavorable rating with women. he's always done well with
republican women generally. this poll is the first sign, real sign, of kind of the cracking of women against trump. we don't know if it's accurate. we don't know if it will hold. >> does it prove, to cruz's point, there's a ceiling to his support? >> that has been the entire argument we've seen from the gop establishment all along. if the field winnows, then you can essentially stop trump. it does seem like at least if this poll is accurate, that we're seeing some of that. in prior polls from wisconsin, it was sort of a different scenario because people were breaking up the field of establishment candidates. if you are a republican who is part of the never trump movement, this is a real moment because not only do you have donald trump, saying a string of controversial things, whether it's his handling of the corey lewandowski thing or what he said about heidi cruz and now this thing about abortion which
underscores what a lot of republicans have said which is donald trump hasn't spent enough time among republicans, among pro-choice republicans. you saw a lot of these -- pro-life republicans. you saw a lot of these pro-life groups come out and say this is because he's really just a convert to the pro-life movement. >> the other way to look at it is that these are issues he hasn't really thought much about. hasn't thought the ramifications of or thought it through. doesn't have policy papers. not in meetings with advisers on this. a lot of this comes from his own thoughts. unlike a lot of candidates if asks a question, even very hypothetical, he goes there. he talks out loud what his thoughts are, which a lot of politicians don't. >> the pros can tell you more about this than i can. if you are a republican and change your position on abortion, which donald trump did. he once said he was pro-choice when thinking of running for the reform party. now says he's very pro-life. if you are going to change your position, you better be able to answer these questions.
it's okay to change your position. voters will give you the change of position but you better be able to answer where it came from. and the fact he couldn't do that hurts him. donald trump's strength is not his position on the issues. his strengths should strength. but he's on defense for the first time. he's still in the headlines but not setting the agenda by building a wall. you also had in one state a sustained period of time where a lot of money in negative ads has been dumped on his head. >> jeffrey, are you concerned? >> i think he made a misstep here. no question about it. he needs to correct it. he corrected it very quickly and he'll move on. his greatest strength is that he's not a politician. it's also his greatest weakness because he doesn't have the smooth pattern down, and i think on balance, the problem for his opponents are they are all smooth politicians. eventually over time, i think that this is being weighted towards outsiders. and he can certainly recover
from this but today is a good example of when it worked against him. >> it plays into the ongoing story line of donald trump issues with women, lack of consideration of women. >> certainly. for this week, we're starting to see donald trump, he's not dominating the headlines. he's being subject to them. this shows he hasn't thought deeply about the issues. in a traditional campaign you'd go around to the groups that care about these issues and do listening sessions to get a feel for that. he did none of that and you see him trying to make it up as he went along. he said that and his campaign quickly had to make a statement. he's going to have to do another round of interviews on this. this is an issue you can't freelance. you have to come from the heart and explain how you arrived at your position there. he hasn't done that thinking. this is not a time you can get up to speed at it. >> ana, it's remarkable the front-runner could change even part his position on abortion within a few hours and not even
acknowledge he has changed. he says one thing in that town hall. clearly whether it was because he hadn't thought about it or whatever. but that was his position then, and his position had changed and in his statement he said, i haven't changed my position. >> today i will tell you is a clear indication that donald trump hasn't become a politician. we haven't seen from donald trump until now an actual statement clarifying a flip flop within hours. i don't think it's remarkable at all that he's changed positions. he's been doing it for years now. he certainly has been doing it consistently for the last ten months. we've seen this repeated pattern over and over. this is not new with him and women. we've seen him go after carly fiorina's face and megyn kelly and heidi cruz. what i do think kind of set off the alarm bells is this is a real time bomb in a general election.
>> we have seen a lot of times, you know, a number of incidents happen. oh, wait, is this a watershed event? and then it dissipates into something else. something else comes along. >> i don't have a horse in this race. i don't like any of them. it's like sitting on the curb at the rose bowl parade. i like that float. i don't like that. i understand everybody's position. but this is a tactical issue that he should -- if you're going to go into a conversation with chris matthews, somebody has to say to you, okay, look. you can't let him control the pace. take a deep breath. let him sit there and throw things at you. slow down. make sure you know what's coming out of your mouths. nobody can do that, except probably for corey. corey is back on his heels because of what happened last week or two weeks ago. so i just think from a tactical standpoint the whole campaign is like changing places -- >> he tried to shift the focus on chris matthews and put chris
matthews on the questioning, asking him about, you know, your religion and being a catholic. >> if you are going to -- you can't go after trump by poking holes in his logic. it's like sticking holes in sourdough bread. it's not what he says. it's how he says it. >> we'll continue the conversation throughout the night, including with hillary clinton who we're expecting to call in shortly. a closer look at why today's change of course on abortion was not the exception for donald trump. we'll also focus on the fallout to the abortion turn around with women voters. that and more ahead on what is a very busy night tonight. courtyard, the official hotel of the nfl, and i want to remind you that no one's the same without the game.
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before the break you saw how quickly donald trump can reverse himself in today's controversial remarks. that's nothing compared to last night's 360 town hall. he changed course on a number of vital topics in the space of a single conversation. >> it's been a u.s. policy for decades to prevent japan from getting nuclear -- >> that's may be policy, but can i be honest? maybe it's going to have to be time to change. you have pakistan has it, china has it. >> some proliferation is okay? >> no, i hate proliferation. now wouldn't you rather have
japan have nuclear weapons when north korea has nuclear weapons? >> you don't want more nuclear weapons in the world but you're okay with japan and south korea -- >> in terms of federal government role, you say security but also health care and education should be provided by the -- >> those are two of the things. >> aren't you against the federal government's involvement in education? don't you want it to devolve to state? >> i want to go to state. i apologize for my wife for not being presidential on occasion. she's always saying, darling, be more presidential. >> she told me she's talked to you about that. >> she thinks i'm very presidential. >> back with the panel. it's always been one of the knocks on donald trump that he has flip-flopped. his critics in the republican party, that's what they try to use against him. any reason to think this would trip him up now when it hasn't this whole year? >> i think that, in one sense, you have to give donald trump credit because he actually sat with "the new york times" for 100 minutes and talked only about foreign policy. >> they said that's longer than
any other candidate. >> i have to give him kudos for that. on the other hand, if you're going to sit and talk to "the new york times" about foreign policy, you ought to have your ducks in a row and have things thought out. like the question of abortion and thinking as you go along, making it up as you go along. he now has a foreign policy team in place. but it's a little late to start getting tutored. most people, i'm old-fashioned come to political campaigns with a set of beliefs they want to bring to the country and ideas. they want to give to the country. they don't come up with the idea later. they usually do it in the other way. >> it's not clear how much he's getting tutored. there were questions early on, i think politico article when he announced some of the names of his foreign policy advisers. some said they hadn't actually sat down and talked to him. >> i've talked to senator sessions. he certainly is playing a role both in foreign --
>> senator sessions has been around for a while with donald trump. these are people he had recently named, i think, two or three of them says, i haven't had a conversation with him. >> i am -- look. as i've said a lot of times, campaigns mimic the presidency. eventually these people -- he'll be filled to the rafters with people like this. should he have done it long ago? should he do it now? should he, whatever. but that it's happening, i don't think there's any question about it. sessions is also playing a role with judges. he's announced he's, donald trump, has announced he'll release the name of six to seven people that he would nominate for the supreme court. clearly senator sessions is going to play a role in that. >> when forming a kitchen cab net inner circle on any particular policy issue, there's usually a meeting between the candidate and policy expert to make sure they are on the same page. usually these policy experts have very strong beliefs. they want to influence the decisionmaker and have to make
sure they marry up so that they are on the same page when talking about things and you don't have conflicting statements which we've seen several times where trump surrogates and people designated by the campaign say i can't speak to that issue. that's a bad situation for everybody and a direct result of them from the talking to each other. >> you both are so old-fashioned and dated. this idea that you would actually get spoken advice from advisers really seems to me to be so 2012, okay? have you not heard of foreign policy advice through osmosis and esp? this is donald trump. >> it doesn't mean you can't have a set of beliefs. it means that things are complicated in this world and you may believe in making america great again. and ronald reagan had a very solid set of beliefs. but he called in advisers because these things have to unfold. they are very complex. >> in fairness, reagan was criticized for not knowing a lot
of this stuff. even while he was president. >> reagan sounded original in a lot of things and then cut deals. trump's opening philosophy is i'll make the best deal. he doesn't have a lot of rigid views. reagan was the great anti-communist and he was the one that negotiated and cut deals. trump's position is let's cut the best deal. >> a lot of the positions trump has taken and he's talked about this are an opening gambit in a larger deal. >> he's also, you know, i think he's also even when it comes to foreign policy, he's drawing from libertarianism. he's drawing from liberals. and he's also framing it a lot of times in terms of an economic issue. >> and there is -- >> obama has done that in some ways. >> there's a consistency with a lot of his economic positions internationally that he's -- he used to take out ads in the '80s about japan and trade. there is consistency. >> last week when president
obama was in cuba, wolf blitzer interviewed donald trump and asked him about the cuba issue. and he framed it and answered it completely from a businessman's point of view. he talked about how you can't invest in cuba without the cuban government owning 51%. he didn't say one word, not one syllable about the dissidents, about the opponents or people getting harassed, the people being jailed. all he did was frame it in a businessman's point of view. >> and that's my -- i have this theory after covering mitt romney. that's why sometimes businesspeople don't make great political candidates because they come at everything from, what do i need to do to cut the deal? mitt romney needed to talk about self-deportation to get conservatives on board. and donald trump looks at everything as a negotiation. >> but it's worked for him thus far. i'm not nearly as deep a thinker as you, but we've been talking about nobody but donald trump
for the first 24 minutes. we haven't mentioned a single other candidate, a single other issue other than what donald trump did today, two weeks ago. >> i did ask sunlen what ted cruz said about donald trump. >> and we are waiting for hillary clinton to call in. >> but it's a fair point. he has set the agenda from almost the moment he entered the case. >> and a man named john kasich also running for president. >> donald trump backed off his remarks on abortion. he doubled down what he says this video shows and also does not show. he says it proves his campaign manager's innocent of battery charges. we'll break down the video frame by frame. we'll also talk to corey lewandowski's attorney. man 1: i came as fast as i could. what's up?
man 2: this isn't public yet. man 1: what isn't? man 2: we've been attacked. man 1: the network? man 2: shhhh. man 1: when did this happen? man 2: over the last six months. man 1: how did we miss it? man 2: we caught it, just not in time. man 1: who? how? man 2: not sure, probably off-shore, foreign, pros. man 1: what did they get? man 2: what didn't they get. man 1: i need to call mike... man 2: don't use your phone. it's not just security, it's defense.
bae systems. we've been talking about donald trump's 180 today, reversing himself on whether women who get abortions should be punished if outlawed in the united states. he's defending his campaign manager corey lewandowski. florida police released a video after charging mr. lewandowski with simple battery.
here's what donald trump said today. >> how many thought it looked terrible what he did? to me, he was breaking it up. she's grabbing. did anybody think it was really terrible? %-p horrible thing what happened? i don't get it. so she said, this is the exact quote. i was jolted backwards. someone grabbed me tightly by the arm and i went down. she didn't go down. i almost fell to the ground. he didn't almost fall to the ground. and they put out a warrant. what kind of country are we in in destroy somebody? >> donald trump made the same case last night during our town hall. i asked him if he was going to fire lewandowski. he said he's standing by him. miguel marquez breaks down that's incident frame by frame. >> the video only 90 seconds along shows reporter michelle fields approach trump after his press conference march 8th at
9:57 p.m. audio played alongside the video lays out the sequence of events. >> mr. trump, you went after scalia for affirmative action. >> you see fields approach trump. for two seconds, trump greets others, clearly not responding to fields' questions. one second later, trump campaign manager corey lewandowski intercepts fields. you can see him reaching for her. a second after that, he appears to have his left hand on her left arm. two seconds later, he pushes past her. a cspan camera from a different angle shows trump pass by. you can see fields wearing white and see lewandowski's back. he appears to lunge towards fields. fields on her own audiotape is heard complaining about the treatment to "washington post" reporter ben terris who
witnessed the incident. >> i can't believe he just did that. that was so hard. was that corey? that was insane. you should have felt how hard he grabbed me. >> reporter: on march 10th, donald trump had this to say about the alleged incident. >> this was in my opinion, made up. i didn't see anything. all of a sudden, we heard about it later on. >> reporter: then last night, the story changed. >> all of a sudden, she bolts into the picture. she grabs me or hits me on the arm. i'm like this with my arm up. and then he goes by and i'm -- i mean maybe he touched her a little bit. >> reporter: a trump spokesperson has twice called the allegation entirely false adding that not a single camera or reporter of more than 100 in attendance captured the alleged incident. but it was captured on surveillance video from trump's own national golf club. when lewandowski called fields
an attention-seeker, she responded to lewandowski and trump with this picture. bruises on her arm. on march 11th, lewandowski tweeted to fields, you are totally delusional. i never touched you. i have never even met you. a short time later, fields filed a complaint with the jupiter, florida, police department setting off an investigation and another political storm. miguel marquez, cnn, new york. >> florida police have charged lewandowski with simple battery which say misdemeanor. he turned himself in yesterday morning and was issued a court date in may. i spoke with his attorney just before air. mr. cohen, where is your client on this? i know a couple of days after this incident he tweeted out this woman is delusional. he never met her. never touched her. i saw an interview you did last night i think on msnbc in which you said he did brush by her. but seemed to imply there was no actual kind of real contact.
you do acknowledge he grabbed her, don't know? >> i acknowledge there was definitely contact. i don't know where the contact occurred. obviously, she says the contact occurred on her lower forearm. it appears to me that if there was any contact in terms of the video, it looks like maybe her upper shoulder. i can't even be clear on it. it's very inconclusive the video. that's number one. the second issue that you discussed about him tweeting out the next day or day after that it's delusional and i've never met you. really the issue behind that is, this was a nonissue to corey. this was something that occurred very quickly. he didn't think anything about it. so when somebody tweets the next day or someone discusses the next day, i was almost brought down to the ground, he obviously says that's impossible. i don't even know who this lady is. >> it seems the contact just from this video, it does seem like he has her and is able to stop her in her tracks.
it does seem like he wields her around in that video that we're showing. >> to me it appears that he is stopping her or redirecting her from getting closer to mr. trump. and if you look -- mr. trump actually tweeted a picture where he is wincing away from this woman who is trying to grab his arm. at that very moment you see corey who is coming in between him and ms. fields. so in florida, in most states, an absolute defense is a defense of another. and corey is a trained police officer. he is no longer a police officer. but he was a police officer. and he was with new hampshire police for four years, i believe. he went to the police academy. he can see when someone is turning away or wincing away, he recognizes that. if you look at the still photo mr. trump posted, you can see clearly corey's eyes are focused on where her hands are, and mr. trump is looking down to see why
these grabbing his arm. >> a couple of things. last night you were saying he just brushed by her. now you are changing your perception of this video to at least say he did have contact with her and was able to stop her or turn her around, correct? >> certainly there's contact there. i would never change a story completely in terms of watching this video. i've watched it probably 150 to 200 times. it does appear that he gets in between her and mr. trump and redirects her away from mr. trump. >> so you've said now that he was a police officer. you said he was a new hampshire state trooper. we checked. he was part of the marine patrol unit over the course of several summers in new hampshire and went to a part-time police academy for like 100 hours of training, correct? >> yes, he attended a police academy. >> part-time academy. are you implying that lewandowski feared for donald
trump? >> i believe that corey lewandowski acted in all good faith in redirecting ms. fields away from mr. trump. >> and the bruise -- the photo that ms. fields has tweeted out in which you see bruises on her arm, i guess a police officer interviewed her. and the police report says bruising from what appeared to be finger marks indicating a grabbing-type injury. how do you explain that? >> i don't. i have no idea how those bruises occurred. even looking at that tape in the worst case scenario, there -- it does not appear to show what she is assert, that someone grabbed her by the -- or that corey grabbed her by the wrist or by the forearm. even in the best case scenario, it's not showing that. >> so you think she -- you think she may have either staged that or believe that occurred somewhere else in some other kind of incident. >> i have no idea how they occurred but i don't believe it occurred from the actions on
that video. >> brad cohen, thanks for being with us. >> thank for having me, anderson. 16 republican women who work in media have published an open letter calling for him to fire his campaign manager. more on that ahead. if you need advice for your business, legalzoom has your back. our trusted network of attorneys has provided guidance to over 100,000 people just like you. visit legalzoom today. the legal help you can count on. legalzoom. legal help is here.
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it seems fair to say donald trump has not done himself any favors with half the voting population over the last 24 hours. his ratings among women nationally were already low before tonight's breaking news. he reversed himself in short order, but his flip-flop came as he doubled down on defending his campaign manager who is facing battery charges after allegedly grabbing a reporter's arm. in an open letter calling for trump to fire lewandowski, 16 conservative women who work in media wrote the press is to have an adversarial approach to those running for elected office. never in this line of work is it reasonable to respond with the use of physical force. joining me is amanda carpenter and ana navarro and tara setmayer and kayleigh mcenany. kayleigh is a conservative columnist and trump supporter. does this matter? is this, among trump supporters,
a lot of them are saying, look. this was a, you know, a scrum, it's a chaotic scene. he touched her. but does it really amount to a crime? >> the courts will decide that. but conservative women as evidenced by this letter are horrified to see what happened to michelle fields. look at what corey said immediately after. she's delusional. i never touched her. his own lawyer just acknowledged to you tonight on the air that there was a touch. corey did lie. this woman was smeared for days and days by a presidential campaign. she has suffered. she had to walk away from her job because her editors would not support her. we all see this going on, and you have to stand up to it. i don't know if it will hurt donald trump but i get the feeling he's being boiled like a frog in water. there may be a moment when it happens but we'll look at all this and say, wow. he's cooked. >> ana?
>> it's not going to hurt him with his core supporters. for them, he walks on water. he's a quasi deity. >> he says i stand by my people. >> i'm loyal. i'm going to be loyal to the country. in truth, in law school there's something called the reasonable person standard. you're going through law school, it's the first thing you learn. a reasonable person would have called michelle fields the next day and said, i'm sorry. things got out of hand. those scrums, those spin rooms can get crazy. and it just got out of control. i'm sorry about that. she probably would not have filed charges had that happened. because we're not dealing with reasonable people, a mole hill has been turned into a mountain. this has escalated into a level where we've been talking about it for days where there are arrests made. there's going to be court hearings in the midst of a presidential race. we're talking about this instead of the important policies. >> do you believe that
lewandowski should resign? >> i find it interesting because the women who signed this letter are journalists. and one of the highest principles of our criminal justice system is innocent until proven guilty. that's afforded to the worst of criminals and terrorists and rapists. but it appears if you work for the trump cam pan it's guilty until proven isn't. there are two varying accounts. the daily mail has been contacted by an anonymous secret service agent on trump's detail that said this reporter was instructed twice not to cross this line or come close to mr. trump or touch him as the picture shows she did. it's not the correct one necessarily. i tell you that story to show there are two accounts of what happens and it's unfair from a journalistic standard to presume mr. lewandowski is guilty and it's unfair from a criminal justice standard. i'm ashamed that women would -- who are journalists would go out and presume this man guilty in
the court of public opinion. >> the secret service says they don't comment on anything like this. and the daily mail is the daily mail. one should take that enter consideration. tara? >> this is the first time i've heard kayleigh say the word ashamed. she's ashamed of women standing up for another woman who was assaulted by the campaign manager of her candidate. this is the first time you are ashamed? you aren't ashamed of the fact -- >> that is unfair -- >> you aren't ashamed donald trump has called women fat pigs and was going to pay for the legal fees of someone who assaulted a protester? you aren't ashamed donald trump can never apologize -- >> i said i don't like those things. >> you should be ashamed of those things. you are ashamed of women standing up -- >> i've said -- >> standing up to someone else in a situation that a person running for president should have absolutely no involvement
in whatsoever. this should have been handled, over with, done. but he has an inability to apologize. >> let kayleigh respond. kayleigh? >> i have said many times, tara, it's disingenuous to say i've not -- i've said it was inappropriate for donald trump to retweet that picture of heidi cruz. you said a man guilty of assault. do you know that you are defaming someone. you could be brought into court for alleging -- >> uh-oh. am i going to get sued now by donald trump? >> no, you aren't but i'd watch your words because that's a violation of the highest principle of journalism -- >> are you kidding me? are you serious? >> to presume someone guilty on tv when there are two varying accounts, tara. you need to be careful. >> one at a time. tara? >> donald trump's words when he lies in one sentence. he says one thing and then says another. you aren't concerned about donald trump when he says women should be punished for having abortions and changes his mind three times later after two hours when he got in trouble for it. >> i haven't been asked about that.
so don't put words in my mouth when i haven't been asked about that. >> you defend the indefensible with donald trump. >> i'm just pointing out things that -- >> tara, please stop -- >> let's just take -- >> sorry. kayleigh finish the thought. >> i'm tired of people putting words into my mouth. i'm tired of you saying i said something about his abortion comments when i haven't been asked about that. you need to stop generalizing about things i haven't commented on. someone fact check this. i've not comment on this subject and words were just put into my mouth. >> maybe you should. >> we'll take a breath. we'll take a break. we'll continue the conversation when we come back. we'll be right back.
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picking up our conversation on donald trump and women. hillary clinton will be calling in shortly to the broadcast. meanwhile, back with our panel. kayleigh, let's talk about donald trump on his comments about abortion today and his reversal on that. what do you make of that? what do you make of the reversal, the quickness of it and any damage this may do to him? >> look, he was in an interview with chris matthews. he was being peppered with questions. no secret to anyone that chris matthews is not a friend to the conservative cause or to donald trump's cause. but nonetheless, donald trump chose to go on his air waves and platform and peppered with the same question over n over. he kept answering it and said that women should be punished and quickly came out and clarified it. the reality is when you are someone who has made yourself more available to media than any candidate in modern presidential history, donald trump is on the air waves every single day. spent 100 minutes with "the new york times."
hillary clinton, most of the other candidates have not made themselves available to certain networks. have shied away from it. you said to ted cruz last night you've asked him several times to come pop he wouldn't come on your program. donald trump puts himself out there. you're going to make mistakes. it's called being human. what matters is what he said and what his policy is. >> that's my question. you said he made a mistake. do you think in that he misspoke what he actually believed or do you think he hadn't really thought about it and that's what he believed then and then afterwards, people in the campaign came to him and said, look, here's a number of reason yes that's not a statement you want to be making and then came out with a different statement. which do you think it? >> i think he misspoke. i think he misspoke and came out quickly and clarified it. he has strong pro-life views. a well developed policy on this. he misspoke and came out and clarified. >> it would be nice if he said he misspoke. it would be nice if he said he made a mistake.
somebody needs to explain to donald trump, and it's his way of doing things have worked for hum until now. but admitting you are human and you make mistakes, asking for forgiveness, expressing regret happens to everybody. it happens to everybody. you say things you don't mean. what he said was absolutely absurd. this is not the 1800s we're not in "the scarlet letter." how do you punish women for getting an abortion. i thought this was so ridiculous and absurd that he at some point should say, you know what? i made a mistake. >> he got played by chris matthews. chris matthews made up what he thought would be the most extreme conservative position suggesting women be jailed for having an abortion and donald trump thought about it because he doesn't know what the conservative position would be. he went along with it. he got played by chris matthews because he had no idea what he thought about the matter.
>> it was fair game. i'm not saying that. >> totally fair game. saying we were watching was donald trump trying to appeal to conservative voters. very ironic. or pander, if you want to use that word. and when you're trying to pander to a group of voters who ought to know what they want and what their position is, and what he didn't know is, yes, they are pro-life and, you know, he's against abortion. but he didn't know -- he didn't take it to the next step because these are not deeply held, deeply thought out views of his. on the economy, maybe. on trade, maybe. but not on social issues. >> we have to take a quick break. in the next hour, hillary clinton will be joining us. i'll get her take on donald trump's shifting abortion comments. plus the gop town hall that has people talking, from ted cruz and john kasich.
good evening from cnn election headquarters in washington. what could be a pivotal moment in the race for the white house. a new poll signaling trouble for donald trump in wisconsin. headaches for hillary clinton. a renewed defense by donald trump for his campaign manager who is facing battery charge and
outcry about criminalizing abortion and penalizing women who obtain them. the campaign trying to throw them down the memory hole just a few hours after. we're expected to be joined by hillary clinton, but first the latest from jim acosta who is in washington. take us through what happened today. the original comments from trump and the campaign kind of walking it back. >> reporter: anderson, donald trump adopted a very extreme position on abortion today only to walk it back just hours later. his comments came during an interview with msnbc earlier today when he said women who undergo abortions should be punished if the procedure were ever made illegal. and here's how he put it earlier today. >> should the woman be punished for having an abortion? >> look -- >> this is not something you can dodge. if you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under the law. should abortion be punished? >> well, people in certain parts